Chapter Eight:  The 1950s

The 1950s was a difficult decade for the club. Membership numbers remained down during this time, reaching an all-time low in 1959 of only 55, and as a result the club struggled financially. Nearly every year, losses were recorded at the Annual General Meetings.

 

The demands on the finances were considerable: the green-keeping equipment, never of a particularly high standard, had deteriorated due to lack of use during the war and had to be replaced; every year the green-keeper asked for a pay rise, but he was seldom successful; and the Town Council (members from which formed half of the Management Committee) continually asked that donations be made by the club, towards the McDonald Park maintenance fund. In 1953 for example the Town Council notified the club that it could not afford to maintain the park to the standard demanded by Sir James and, since the club was enjoying rent-free golf, it should henceforth make an annual donation of £10. The matter was discussed at the AGM, but the meeting agreed that no such payment be made - instead the ladies were asked to organise yet more fund-raising activities.

 

Because of the financial situation, the committee looked at every possible source of income, but with membership numbers stagnant, the only realistic source of funds was the grazing rent. So profitable was the grazing that successive committees continued to use it as a source of income and it would be 1959, 14 years after the war had finished before the practice was discontinued.

 

Morale within the club must have been low because at the Annual General Meeting of 1955 no one would accept nomination for the post of captain. The meeting was abandoned but not before those present were advised that if the post were not filled at an Extraordinary General Meeting at a later date, the running of the club would be handed over to the Town Council. Notices of the meeting were posted in the local shops and advertisements were even placed in the local newspapers, the Press and Journal and Evening Express. This had the desired effect: 21 people attended (about a third of the membership) and Mr Bill Joss a local banker accepted the post of captain.

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